When we hear the word “homeless” we have been conditioned to associate the word with a segment of society that is there because of “their own fault.” These are people that society understands to be the ones that have “drunk themselves to homelessness” or “drugged themselves to homelessness” or even perhaps are just too damn lazy to go to work or some other similar reason. Yes, to some extent these statements have some truth but in many cases these overlooked people are where they are because of a multitude of other reasons, many of which were beyond their control.
But whatever the reason, does it mean that just because I got a cold because I shook hands with you or sat next to you in the plane that I should be removed and isolated, not to be cared for or helped to recover? No I don’t believe that is a reasonable solution or the normal expectation. Yet, sadly, we as a society want to make these people just disappear, away from our view, away from everything we come in contact with or every place we visit. Some even want to pretend they do not exist.
Our churches, temples and other places of worship teach us to treat our overlooked brothers and sisters with love and concern. Yet as we march out of our four walls we have forgotten the message and are more concerned about the Starbucks coffee waiting for us than the miserable, cold, wet, night our overlooked friends will spend on the riverbank, park bench or wherever. We forget that they will be subjected to harassment by the local authorities under orders to keep the public area free of ugly and unwanted sights. We forget that kids from well-to-do families, as was recently reported from Boston, will kick and beat with bats such persons, or even pour gasoline on these, our brothers and sisters, and torch them just for fun. What does this say about us....America....the land of the free?.